My husband is going to Boston tomorrow. His brother is receiving his doctorate from Boston College on Monday (congratulations Kevin!) and Charlie and his parents are making the trek for the celebration. When we first discussed his going on the trip, I was excited for him. I’ve never been to Boston but I know it will be a great trip for him and will give him some much needed R&R. But, as time went on, it started to bug me every time we talked about it or every time I talked to his mom about the details of the trip. I was still rejoicing that my husband will be able to get away and enjoy himself but I was also starting to feel envious of those five days. The more it festered in my head, the more irritated I got. Then, I started hearing about other people making plans to go on vacation or get away for a few days and the irritation grew into anger.
Okay, God, I’m happy for Charlie, but what about me? I’m tired, too, and I need a break. I’m going to be all alone for five days with no help, no family, no husband, and no vacation in sight. I’m the one who loves to travel and see new things. I’m the one who enjoys living out of a suitcase and wandering around strange cities and towns. Don’t you see how hard I’m working and how much work there is to do?! When do I get a break?
I kept trying to push those thoughts and feelings down deeper and deeper but they kept bubbling up and manifesting themselves in ugly ways. I was embarrassed to admit my jealousy to anyone, including God. Finally, after praying with Charlie one night this week about something totally unrelated, we said “Amen,” and then I started to cry. I confessed to him that I was jealous of his trip and struggling to understand why God wasn’t answering my need for a break. I knew I could handle the kids for a few days alone, but I wanted to have my own “Jen Time” to look forward to. He hugged me and encouraged me to pray about it. I sniffled an apology and told him I knew I should.
As I started to talk to the Lord about it, He began by reminding me that He is in control:
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding.” Job 38:4
“I know that You can do all things, and that no purpose of Yours can be thwarted.” Job 42:2
I had been prideful to question God’s provision in my life. I assumed that I had a legitimate argument and was demanding an answer. Not only that, but I was actually questioning whether or not God was paying attention to the details of my life. I had allowed my emotions and my sin of jealousy to drag me into a pit of selfishness and despair. So, lovingly, God reminded me that He is sovereign and He has purposes that will not disappoint.
Then, my Jesus reminded me of His tender words:
“Come to Me all who are weary and heavy-laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
Those words pierced my heart and mind. “I will give you rest.” The rest isn’t found in a vacation or “Jen Time.” Rest is given to me by Jesus. He promises that He will give me rest if I simply come. Beautiful but forgotten by my wayward heart. I was so focused on what others were receiving that I had forgotten the true treasure of these words. It was also convicting. If I am so tired and worn out, was I really spending time with the Lord? If He promises rest, why am I so weary? Could it be that my spiritual gas tank is running on fumes? How did I let things get this way? Why didn’t I notice sooner?
I know all the answers to those questions and I know the solutions, too. I’m not so new to my faith that I am without the necessary tools to fix this problem. I know I need to be in the Word daily–more than the five minutes I’ve been putting in as I referee the girls’ breakfast. I know I need to truly worship the Lord–and not just when I hear my new favorite worship song on the radio as I wait in line at the bank drive-thru. I know I need to be in my prayer closet–not just praying as I search through my closets. I know I need to be giving and serving and really looking for ways to use the gifts He has given me–not just waiting for someone to ask for help. Somehow, someway, I had gotten off course and the Lord had used this opportunity to show me how far away I truly was. (Thank You, Lord!) My next few posts are going to be on those issues of Bible study, worship, prayer, and serving. Mostly as a tool for me to articulate what God is renewing in my heart so I can be refreshed. Maybe they will help someone else, too. Praise God that He sees His children for afar off and runs to greet them and bring them home!